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Record number of 35 candidates in fray for Sri Lanka Presidential polls

Sri Lanka People's Front party presidential election candidate and former wartime defence chief Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (R) waves at media next to his brother and former president and opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa as they leave after handing over nominations papers at the election commission ahead of Sri Lanka's presidential election in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Monday, October 7, 2019.

Sri Lanka People's Front party presidential election candidate and former wartime defence chief Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (R) waves at media next to his brother and former president and opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa as they leave after handing over nominations papers at the election commission ahead of Sri Lanka's presidential election in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Monday, October 7, 2019.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

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However, the main contest is expected to be between Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa

As many as 35 candidates on Monday filed nominations for Sri Lanka’s Presidential election scheduled this November. This is a record number of nominations for the contest to the country’s highest office, Election Commission officials said.

On Sunday, when a total of 41 hopefuls paid deposits for nominations, it became clear that President Maithripala Sirisena was not seeking a re-election. Six of them withdrew from the race on Monday, a senior official told The Hindu.

Among those who filed nominations on Monday are the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)’s Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a powerful ex-defence secretary and the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the ruling United National Party’s deputy leader Sajith Premadasa, the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake and former army commander Mahesh Senanayake.

Additionally, former MP of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) M. K. Sivajilingam filed nominations as an independent candidate, as did former Easter Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hisbullah.

The main contest this election is expected to be between Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mr. Premadasa, while Mr. Dissanayake too is generating considerable interest, particularly among voters disillusioned with the main parties.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 7:00:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/record-number-of-35-candidates-in-fray-for-sri-lanka-presidential-polls/article29615782.ece

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